Secret Messages!

My geekish side enjoys figuring out creative (and untraceable) ways for Aydan and the gang to communicate, and I couldn’t resist a little secret communication of my own.  When I was designing the book covers, I hid a message on them just to see if anybody was as much of a geek as I am.  So far nobody’s answered, but it could happen!

When you read about the secret technology in the NSS series, do you try to figure out how it could/might work?  Accept it as a story element and keep reading without a pause?  Think it through after finishing the story?  Do tell…

23 thoughts on “Secret Messages!

  1. Do you mean to say that the binary code you have in the background has real meaning? Not just a graphic designer’s pattern? Damn! I wish I still had any dealings with it but it’s been too many years and I donated all my technical books to the school library. My programming dates back to even before DOS days, I worked in MUMPS and dBase so binary codes were a “look up when needed” rather than memorized. Very tricky, Diane!

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    1. You nailed it on the first try! Yep, I wrote the binary and then made it pretty for the graphic design. But it’ll be hard to interpret without consulting all of the covers because various pieces of it are obscured by other graphics. And it’s been so long since I did it that I can’t remember which cover(s) contain the starting point. I suspect the secret message is going to remain secret for a very long time. 😉

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  2. Secret messages? You mean other than ‘Tall, heavily-armed redheads are hot?’ That secret message? Hm. Well, since I’m not really fluent in binary and the werewolf reflection was ‘shopped out, I guess not. 🙂

    Secret technology? I pretty much just buy it and move on. But I gotta say that’s because it’s all so plausible in NSS. Virtual network? Sure, why not? Insect-based flying sensor arrays? Totally doable. Heat-ray-in-a-flashlight? Yep, I’m in.

    If it ever gets to the extremes I’ve read elsewhere in the past such as a tank-killing laser in a ballpoint pen or a low-yield nuke in a booby trapped golf ball, I might have to rethink my position here. But then it always gets back to trust for the author, does it not?

    In other sci-fi work, I just gotta take their stuff with a grain of salt; I wade through it with my brain switched to bypass mode. That’s between ‘standy-by’ and ‘off.’ And closer to off.

    In still others, it all works and I’m whisked merrily and willingly along on the thrill ride. Robert Heinlein’s work is a prime example. Frank Herbert is another. His Dune series was ‘WAY out there, but it still worked. For brand new fiction, David VanDyke’s Plague Wars series and its space-based follow-on are very well done, too. And I mean VERY well done. Good stuff, that. And a couple of the early books are free. Even better.

    I’m enough of a techno-geek that most of the tech I read about either rings true up front or I can call BS on it as soon as I get enough of a feel for it. I’m okay with bizarro, over the top super-science if the world it happens in allows for such possibilities and the author spends the time and has the skill to build a world in which such things are plausible. That takes some extra work, but it’s doable. Robert Silverberg is a good example here.

    So, personally, and for NSS, I just soak it up as doable and crank on. Some other stuff, yes; some of it, no. And some of it, “Oh, HELL no!” 🙂

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      1. That’ll happen with me, too, occasionally. Something will simmer on the back burner for a while as I process it through, then the verdict pops up that says it’s bogus. Then I’ll have to figure out how it could’ve worked…and then…and so on… 🙂

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  3. I think it has something to do with the positioning of the hands/guns. I don’t know signaling or semephores but I do know I’m on the right track. I’m 76 and love Aydan and the gang.

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  4. A large percentage of the books I read are SciFi which I first discovered in my early teens. And I am talking about SCIENCE fiction, not fantasy which has never grabbed me. If the technology involved is logical within the framework of the universe in which the story is set, I read, accept and go on. In most cases I would agree with SciFi author Eric Flint that ‘vague is your friend’. Sometimes an author will overdo things and try to write the whole technology framework and include the science he has designed behind his story. Occasionally it works but all too often it just bogs things down and leads to one’s thinking “Well, that’s just so much crap! I probably won’t buy his next book.” We clearly don’t have that problem here.

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  5. My dad was a ham radio operator as a high school geek and he taught us kids “SOS” in Morse code. Luckily none of us ever needed our souls to be saved. I don’t know Morse code other the S and O, but since there are only two elements to Morse Code and two eliments to binary code you could translate binary 0s into short dits and ones into longer dahs. To those geekier than me I apologize for my spelling of the Morse code sounds, I’ve never seen either sound spelled out, and if I break away from my comment I’ll have to start.all over again and I’m very slow.

    Aydan looked up Morse code to signal John Kane with hand squeezes using Morse code to say, “Pull Betty Out, pull Betty Out…” So it could be done, I imagine. I did notice that every book to date includes binary code on the cover. This kind of code thrilled my Dad. As a computer designer, he and his colleagues only thought about military use for breaking codes in the years following WWII. It boggled his mind how small computers were becoming and how ubiquitous towards his last years. The speed and accuracy thrilled him too. He was great with a slide rule, but computers quickly did calculations considered impossible before, although he knew the value of a good program, which was never his thing. He’d mutter, “Garbage In, Garbage Out,” when the other teams didn’t get the programing right.

    Our generation saw no purpose in learning Morse Code, and I never learned how Binary Code is used for language, just numbers, and it seemed cumbersome.

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  6. I give up. Where is the binary hiding on Spy, Spy Away? My books are all on an iPad, that’s probably the reason for my not being able to see it, but I can’t find it. All I see are the plane and what look like landing strip lights. I expected the code in the landing strip area just based on what you have on other covers, but unless I’m really missing the obvious…

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  7. Sorry, this is a bit off topic but I noticed that Calgary has made the news in all the scientific news sites in a very impressive way this morning. It seems that in a cooperative effort between a group of physicist at the University of Calgary, some US researchers not identified and the city of Calgary itself, they have managed to take the first step in the Star Trek-type transporter. Kind of adds credibility to the idea of cutting-edge computer technology there doesn’t it?

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      1. Galaxy Quest is on my all-time favorites list. Gad, what a great parody; even better, it stands on its own as a well-done movie. It just works. And I recognized the inside-out pig-lizard thing from their digital conveyor platform as soon as I saw it.

        But the teleportation article in Calgary? I’m calling B.S. here and now. Anyone who keeps up with this stuff could smell a coverup.

        Clearly this is leaked and hastily declassified work from Chow’s lab at SD which is located conveniently in the mysterious little town that wasn’t there. Duh. Who are they trying to kid? They think we don’t KNOW this stuff? 🙂

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